As parents we are struggling to wriggle out of the strong, addictive grips of the Big Tech. Our children are growing up in a post figurative society where they don’t need us for answering any questions they might have.

Yet, if we don’t teach them and ourselves how to navigate the tech world, we’re at the risk of hurtling towards a Digital Derailment. If you’ve given your child a smart phone, you also will have to follow it up with a Smart phone and Social Media etiquette.

The below Teen Social Contract will give your child the list of moral, ethical and social obligations he has towards his family and society, while using Technology to the greater good.

This is what I gave my 13 year old two days ago after I got him his own smart phone. Its deliberately handwritten for maximum impact.

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The Teen Social Contract Transcript: 

 

Perspective: 

  • A basic landline phone was a need of our time. Even in 2010, a cell phone was a want. For a 13 year old in 2018, a Smart phone is a privilege.
  • Pause for just one breath before you reach for your phone. Do you really need it?

Communication: 

  • Be mindful of whether what you perceive as a “harmless, funny comment” on a friend’s picture can escalate into an unacceptable social situation.
  • No hateful, hurtful or spiteful words. If you can’t say them on their face, you can’t say them online. Duh!
  • No threats too. We will come after you. See the irony?
  • Acknowledge our (mom and dad) texts and messages, so we know you’re safe and well.

Smart Sense:

  • As parents, we’re entitled to conducting random checks on your phone while you’re using it. Its not invasion of your privacy. As parents, we’re responsible for your safety and wellbeing.
  • Watch out, social media is addictive. When not in check, it can quickly turn into a WMD – weapon of massive distraction. Its not you, its the technology.
  • There’s so much content on YouTube, no one can watch it all in one lifetime. Yes, even in 2X speed.
  • If you have the itch to check your phone, do it at the turn of every hour. Check it at 6pm for a couple of minutes and then back at 7pm.
  • Your phone has to be in our bedroom by 9:30pm each night.

Common Sense: 

  • Don’t use crowd intelligence. Use your own head in group messages.
  • If you see something online or offline, you’ve to say something. That’s just the right thing to do.
  • Once you’ve got a car, don’t text and drive. Its not only against the law, its also against common sense.
  • Listen to your big amazing heart before you act on your impulses.

Real Life: 

  • When you’re at a gathering or a celebration, there’s absolutely no place for your phone. OK, except for maybe one selfie. Enjoy real life. People are incredibly stupid and funny.
  • Whatever content you choose to see on the internet, note that real people or real conversations look and sound really boring and normal. Phones are made to be an exciting place on purpose.
  • Be honest and real, what you expect other people to be in real life.
  • There’s nothing like an unlimited data plan. Every month, you’re paying for half of what it costs to maintain it.
  • We had answers to life’s questions for millennia before Google came along.

We’re in this digital revolution together. Technology is supposed to make us smarter and more productive. Let’s make the most good out of it!

Not sure what will happen if you don’t follow the contract? Try us. :)

Love.
Mom and Dad
(Can’t wait to love you via tons of texts.)

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